Network Rail fined £450k for death of woman at level crossing in Herefordshire

Network Rail has been fined £450,000 for the death of a 52-year-old woman at a level crossing in Herefordshire.

Janet Harding died after her car was hit by a train travelling at 61mph through the Moreton-on-Lugg level crossing in Herefordshire in 2010.

Mrs Harding was a passenger in the car, which was being driven by her husband, Mark.

A two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard that Network Rail had opted not to fit a safety system at the crossing, which would have prevented the barriers being lifted when a train was approaching.

Signalman Adrian Maund was fined £1,750 for his part in the accident.

Network Rail fined £450k for death of woman at level crossing in Herefordshire

Mr Maund, 43, from Leominster, raised the barrier after he mistakenly thought the Manchester to Milford Haven train had already passed, according to Worcester News.

He said he had become distracted after a farmer called him twice to ask if he could take his sheep across the line further up the track.

Mr Maund attempted to lower the barriers and change the signals when he realised the train was approaching, but it was too late.

Judge Melbourne Inman QC said the death could have been prevented if "approach locking" barriers had been installed.

According to the Daily Mail, he said: "Obviously the harm caused is extremely high - a life has been needlessly lost.

"This tragedy could have been avoided if Network Rail had installed an approach locking system (at the crossing) which would have rendered it impossible for a signalman to raise the barrier."

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